Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.




wholesale business of buying and slaughtering animals and then processing and distributing their carcasses to retailers. The livestock industry is among the largest in the world. In the United States, the plains of the Midwest and Southwest provided good conditions for inexpensively breeding livestock, which was then transported to centrally located packing centers, such as Chicago and Cincinnati, and marketed in the densely populated eastern states. Chicago's Union Stock Yards (1865) was the nation's largest livestock and packing center until the mid-20th cent. It was closed in 1971, because it was unable to compete with newer, more modern facilities. Modern meatpacking dates from the introduction of refrigerated railway cars. In 1869, George Hammond, a meatpacker in Detroit, shipped frozen beef to Boston in a car chilled with ice from the Great Lakes. By 1880 mechanical refrigeration was being used. The introduction of storage and distribution warehouses made possible the rapid and efficient marketing of meat. The grain belt and the high plains of the Midwest are still distribution centers for livestock products in the United States.

Meatpacking byproducts include hides for leather; edible fats; inedible fats for soap; bones for buttons; blood meal for fertilizer; hair for brushes; intestines for sausage casing; as well as gelatin, glue, and glycerin. Byproduct pharmaceuticals include pepsin, testosterone, liver extract, thyroxine, epinephrine, albumin, insulin, thromboplastin, bilirubin, and ACTH.

Federal legislation requires humane slaughtering methods and examination for disease for livestock killed for export or interstate trade. The Wholesome Meat Act of 1967 extended inspections to intrastate trade. A new inspection system requiring scientific tests for bacteria was put in place in 1996. The laws are administered by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA's grading service stamps beef prime, choice, select, standard, commercial, utility, cutter, and canner, according to the amount of its fat. See also beefbeef,
flesh of cattle prepared for food. It has become one of the chief products of the meatpacking industry and is sold either chilled, frozen, or cured. The leading beef consumers, as well as exporters, are the U.S., the European Union, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia.
..... Click the link for more information.
; muttonmutton,
flesh of mature sheep prepared as food (as opposed to the flesh of young sheep, which is known as lamb). Mutton is deep red with firm, white fat. In Middle Eastern countries it is a staple meat, but in the West, with the exception of Great Britain, Australia, and New
..... Click the link for more information.
; sausagesausage,
food consisting of finely chopped meat mixed with seasonings and, often, other ingredients, all encased in a thin membrane. Although sausages were made by the ancient Greeks and Romans, they were usually plain and unspiced; in the Middle Ages people began to use the
..... Click the link for more information.


See A. Levie, The Meat Handbook (4th ed. 1984); D. Price, Beef, Production, Science and Economics, Application, and Reality (1985); J. Ubaldi and E. Grossman, Jack Ubaldi's Meat Book (1987).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The tower portion of the building's nearly 18-foot ceilings are the tallest in the Meatpacking District and considerably taller than what is standard for new construction in New York City.
General admission is $150 and VIP tickets run $350 apiece, but tickets are still available ( online for those who are interested in a luxurious night out with the meatpacking crowd.
Anti-Immigration Reform and Reductions in Welfare: Evidence from the Meatpacking Industry Thomas P.
No one is taking care of them," said Lauren Danziger, executive director of the Meatpacking District Improvement Association.
Richard Skulnik, a broker at Ripco Real Estate who specializes in properties in the Meatpacking District, said mainstream retailers recognize they need to be near the High Line.
Floor-to-ceiling windows offer a panoramic view of the Hudson River and the Meatpacking District.
Tom Harkin, a Democrat and the new chairman of the agriculture committee, contend that the large meatpacking companies use their overwhelming buying power to obtain livestock long before they are sent to packing plants for slaughter.
His primary intention was to expose dangerous working conditions in the meatpacking houses.
But the location, between Ninth and 10th avenues in the meatpacking district, which was still relatively undiscovered then, now turns out to be one of the hottest neighborhoods today for art, design and dining out.
The Jungle follows the rapid decline of Jurgis Rudkus, a Lithuanian immigrant who arrives in Chicago and goes to work in Packingtown, where the giant "Beef Trust" has its slaughterhouses and meatpacking operations.
Novelist/political commentator Upton Sinclair may best be known for his flaming critiques of the Chicago meatpacking industry in "The Jungle"; but he's equally notorious in California for his harsh critiques of Southern California's culture and excesses.
The book details an overwhelming matrix of problems stemming from the food industry: from supermarkets bullying small-food producers, to pollution from airborne feces particulates, to the horrors of the meatpacking industry.